Health Care

Holdouts Vow To Challenge Purdue Pharma Settlement That Protects Multi-Billionaire Sackler Family Fortune

  “Purdue has had all of its money sucked from it by the Sacklers, so the money is with the Sacklers. This proposal is … not going to require the Sacklers to pay back any profits they took out from Purdue from the sales of OxyContin over the last 10 years.” — Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healy (D). By Nathaniel Weixel The Hill (9/17/19) Purdue Pharma’s bankruptcy filing, the centerpiece of a settlement intended to shield the company and its owners from more than 2,500 lawsuits by cities and states over its role in the opioid crisis, is already facing…

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A New Poll Reveals What Anti-Choicers Are Really About: Controlling Women

The goal of abortion opponents is clear: they do not want women to be equal players in society. [Editor’s Note: This article explains perfectly the hypocrisy of how anti-choice activists, who are supposedly in favor of life, oppose healthcare, education and childcare and supportive family programs that help the lives they hypocritically say they are so concerned about. The reason is that it is not about life; it is all about control, dominance and power over women. — Mark L. Taylor] By Jill Filipovic The Guardian (8/22/19) According to self-identified “pro-life” advocates, the fundamental divide between those who want to outlaw…


Dramatic Increase: Poll Shows 65% Of Democrats More Likely To Back 2020 Candidate Who Supports Medicare For All Over Obamacare Tweaks

“In January, 57 percent of Democrats said they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who backs a Medicare for All health system over expanding the Affordable Care Act. That number has now risen to 65 percent.” By Jake Johnson Common Dreams (8/28/19) Bolstering single-payer proponents’ case that the U.S. public is hungry for transformative change to America’s profit-driven and dysfunctional healthcare system, a new poll released Wednesday found that 65 percent of Democratic primary voters are more likely to support a 2020 presidential candidate who backs Medicare for All over incremental fixes to Obamacare. The Politico/Morning Consult tracking survey (pdf) showed…


What A Recent Birth Cost For An American Parent In South Korea

“That’s my kind of ‘pro-life’ policy.” By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (8/26/19) The inefficiently expensive, unjust and profit-driven model of the American corporate industrialized medical profit system leaves most citizens with a very limited vision of what could be the humane and cost-effective norm for health care under a universal, Medicare For All kind of model of universal health care. Recently, a family member and his wife gave birth to a baby and he sent me a rundown of the support they received in the South Korean model of health care. From conception until the baby’s second birthday…


Sanders Demands Drug & Insurance Industries Explain The Hundreds Of Millions They Appear Willing To Spend To Defeat Medicare For All

“You made a $100 billion in profits last year—how much are you going to be spending of that $100 billion to oppose Medicare for All? Is it $200 million? Is it $500 million? Is it a billion dollars in order to protect your profits?” By Jon Queally The Commoner Call (8/10/19) Democratic 2020 presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is calling on the top lobbyists of the nation’s private health insurance and pharmaceutical industries to explain to the American people why they are willing to spend hundreds of millions of dollars this election cycle to attack his proposal for Medicare for All—a plan…


ER Doc Points Out Trump & Pols Of Both Parties Are Wrong: Mental Illness Is Not To Blame For Gun Violence Epidemic

Democracy Now! (8/8/19) President Trump went to Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas, Wednesday, where he was met by hundreds of protesters condemning his presence after the mass shootings over the weekend, which killed at least 32 people. Prior to his visits, Trump hinted at the need to strengthen background checks for gun purchases, and doubled down on what some healthcare professionals say is dangerous rhetoric linking illness to mass shootings. Numerous other political figures have pointed to mental illness as a contributing factor in mass shootings. From Montreal, we speak with Dr. Megan Ranney, an associate professor of emergency…


A Commoner Writes: Easy To Dismiss Health Care For All When You Have Gold-Plated Coverage For Your Family

The people behind this editorial absolutely have no interest in making sure you don’t die from not being able to afford healthcare, and are assisting the elite in their class war on working people. [Editor’s Note: The following was in response to a Washington post opinion piece “Why Go To The Trouble Of Running For Presdient To Promote Ideas That Wont’s Work”. — Editor] I can guarantee you that the Washington Post’s six-figure-earning, condo-with-doormen-dwelling, Ivy League, mealy-mouthed, out-of-touch editorial board has never had any issue with obtaining healthcare when they needed it, because they have gold-plated health insurance plans. And…


Media’s ‘Perseverance Porn’ Normalizes The Unnecessary Brutality Of American Life

  By Alan MacLeod The Guardian (8/1/19) Sports media giant ESPN recently published an in-depth and supposedly inspirational feature on Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) hopeful Jordan Williams, who fought for a lucrative UFC pro contract, on 23 July. It described how the true fighter has persevered through difficulties, training hard and smart to rise to the top despite many setbacks, including his type 1 diabetes. “I’ve been an athlete my whole life, even before I was diagnosed as a diabetic and now long after. I always try to go my hardest and always try to train and push myself to the limit,” Williams…


Ex-Health Insurance Exec: Industry Is Using Same Old, Decades-Old Lies & Scare Tactics To Fight Medicare For All

  Democracy Now! (8/2/19) The Democratic presidential candidates remain deeply divided on how to expand healthcare to the tens of millions of Americans who are uninsured or underinsured. Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have both pushed for abolishing private health insurance and establishing a Medicare for All system. Their rivals have pushed a number of different, more incremental approaches. During the first night of the latest debates, Sanders pointed out that the country has taken sweeping action before to expand health coverage to millions of Americans, referring to the 50th anniversary of the creation of Medicare and Medicaid. We…


We Need Health Care, Not Corporate Health Insurance

We don’t have any benefit from including a corporate middle man. By Tom Crofton The Commoner Call (8/5/19) I have been very frustrated by the ineffective talking points from single payer advocates and the outright disinformation from opponents. The recent democratic debates brought this frustration to a new level and unless we clear up the explanations we will see this effort go down in flames. Typical good insurance, such as mine, attained through a collectively bargained union contract and, paid for by employers, costs at least $14,000 per year. As part of a total package, the workers choose after negotiations ,…


‘People are Dying’: Bernie Sanders Heads To Canada With An Insulin Caravan

Common Dreams (7/28/19) Presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders is heading to Canada on Sunday with a caravan of Type 1 diabetes patients seeking cheaper insulin to highlight the “corruption” of pharmaceutical companies and the toll taken on Americans who can’t afford the medicine. CTV News reported: “(Sanders) waved to crowds as he entered the Olde Walkerville Pharmacy in Windsor, Ont. on Sunday. “Sanders stood next to a mother who said she spends roughly US $1,500 a month for insulin for her son. But in Windsor, she paid US $1,000 for a six-month supply. “A vial of insulin which Type 1 diabetics use…


The American Corporate Wealth Care System Is A Needlessly Complicated, Colossal Mess … That Kills

Corporate Wealthcare In The United States 66.5 percent of all bankruptcies in the United States are linked to health care financial stress. 45,000 people die every year due to a lack of health insurance. In 2017, 3.9 million children were uninsured, up from 3.6 million in 2016. Life expectancy at birth in the U.S. fell by 0.1 years, to 78.6, in 2016, following a similar drop in 2015. This is the first time in 50 years that life expectancy has fallen for two years running. In 25 other developed countries, life expectancy in 2015 averaged 81.8 years. ***** “The American health…


Bernie Is Ready To Rumble In Defense Of Medicare For All

  By Megan Day Jacobin (7/18/19) Bernie Sanders delivered a major speech on Medicare for All yesterday. He knows who his enemies are: the pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies, and their friends in elected office — and he’s spoiling for a fight with them. In 1966, every American citizen over the age of sixty-five received a card in the mail emblazoned with the words “HEALTH INSURANCE” and an official seal from the federal Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. The card certified the right of its recipient to health care coverage, funded by progressive taxes. The elderly could no longer work? No problem….


Corporate Profits & Poor Training In Pain Management Feed Pain & Nation’s Growing Opioid Crisis

Motorcycle Crash Shows Bioethicist The Dark, Painful Side Of Quitting Opioids Alone. By Terry Gross Fresh Air (7/8/19) In 2015, Travis Rieder, a medical bioethicist with Johns Hopkins University’s Berman Institute of Bioethics, was involved in a motorcycle accident that crushed his left foot. In the months that followed, he underwent six different surgeries as doctors struggled first to save his foot and then to reconstruct it. Rieder says that each surgery brought a new wave of pain, sometimes “searing and electrical,” other times “fiery and shocking.” Doctors tried to mitigate the pain by prescribing large doses of opioids, including morphine,…


”Christian Hospital Sues Their Own Underpaid Low-Wage Workers Over Medical Bills

The employee health care plan prevents them from going to competitors with better financial assistance. By Wendi C. Thomas, MLK50 ProPublica (6/28/19) MEMPHIS, Tennessee — This year, a Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare housekeeper left her job just three hours into her shift and caught a bus to Shelby County General Sessions Court. Wearing her black and gray uniform, she had a different kind of appointment with her employer: The hospital was suing her for unpaid medical bills. An expert in hospital billing practices said that if the hospital is suing a fair number of its own employees, it’s time to look both…


$11 For Any Prescription? What Corporate U.S. Health Care Could Learn From Germany

  On Point / WBUR (6/24/19) Germany has a private health care system like the U.S., but even the sickest patients rarely pay more than $11 for a prescription. How? Guests: Noam Levey, writes about national health care policy out of Washington, D.C., for the Los Angeles Times. (@NoamLevey) Leigh Purvis, director of health services research at the AARP Public Policy Institute. (@leighdrugwonk) Link to 40-Minute Audio ***** German Patients Get The Latest Drugs For Just $11. Can Such A Model Work In The U.S.? By Norm Levey The Los Angeles Times (6/19/19) Patients who come to the Havelhöhe cancer…


Corporate Dem Rep. Richard Neal Orders Colleagues Not To Utter The Words ‘Medicare For All’ After Taking Fat Checks From Medical Industrial Interests

  By Donald Shaw Sludge (6/13/19) The House Ways and Means Committee was scheduled to hold a hearing today on Medicare for All, but its chairman, Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.), suddenly changed the focus of the hearing and instructed his Democratic colleagues to not even mention the term. Instead of focusing on the proposal to establish a single-payer universal health care system, the hearing now covers all options for making health coverage universally accessible, including tweaks to the Affordable Care Act. Since taking his powerful chairmanship at the start of the current legislative session, Neal, a longtime skeptic of Medicare for…


American Woman’s Viral Twitter Thread Exposes The ‘nightmare’ Of European-Style Socialized Medicine

OMG, it sounds like a regular hellscape!! Thank God we have a health system that ranks 22 among the western industrialized nations in quality of care. I’m not exactly sure WHY I should be so proud of that, but our politicians and corporate warlords seem to feel it is a good thing, so it must be, Right? Right? Please tell me that is right. Link to Story (Commoner Call cartoon by Mark L. Taylor, Open source and free for non-derivative use with link to www.thecommonercall.org )  


‘Ask For Jane” — These Courageous Women Provided Illegal Abortions Before Roe v. Wade. Will Activists Have To Go Underground Again?

“Liberty will not descend to a people; a people must raise themselves to Liberty.” — Emma Goldman Democracy Now! (5/31/19) “Ask for Jane.” Those were the magic words that provided thousands of women access to safe abortions before the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling in 1973 that guaranteed the constitutional right to abortion. With abortion services outlawed in most of the country, women often had to risk their own lives in order to terminate pregnancy. So, in 1969, a group of women in Chicago decided to take matters into their own hands and set up a hotline, offering counseling and…


Over 200 Economists Send Letter To Congress Endorsing Medicare For All: ‘It’s A Sure Winner—Except For The Profiteers’

By Jake Johnson Common Dreams (5/21/19) Ahead of a historic single-payer hearing at the House Budget Committee on Wednesday, more than 200 economists sent a letter to Congress blasting America’s “exorbitant and wasteful” healthcare system and endorsing Medicare for All as the most humane and cost-effective solution. “America’s health system turns our survival over to greedy companies with the market power to set outrageously high prices,” Jeffrey Sachs, professor of economics at Columbia University and one of the letter’s 209 signatories, said in a statement on Tuesday. “Medicare for All will give us a system already proven in other countries: much lower costs with…


The Abortion Debate Is Not About The Sanctity Of Life — It’s About Fodder For Corporate Capitalism

Tens of millions of young Americans who struggle financially and see little hope for the future. By Chris Hedges TruthDig (5/20/19) On Wednesday, the day it was announced that the U.S. birthrate fell for the fourth straight year, signaling the lowest number of births in 32 years, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed into law the most draconian anti-abortion lawin the country. That the two developments came at the same time could not have been more revelatory. The ruling elites are acutely aware that the steadily declining American birthrate is the result of a de facto “birth strike” by women who, unable to afford…


What Does A Post-Roe America Look Like? As Anti-Choice Laws Multiply, Many Already Are Living In It

Democracy Now! (5/17/19) Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer issued what many considered a dire warning from the bench this week, implying that Roe v. Wade — the landmark ruling that recognizes the constitutional right to an abortion — is in danger. He wrote the comments in a dissent for an unrelated case in which the court voted to overturn a 40 year-old precedent. Breyer wrote “Today’s decision can only cause one to wonder which cases the Court will overrule next.” We speak to journalist Robin Marty about what a post-Roe America would look like, and how many people are already…


‘Bottle Of Lies’ — The Generic Drugs You’re Taking May Not Be As Safe Or Effective As You Think

  By Dave Davies Fresh Air (5/16/19) As the cost of prescription medication soars, consumers are increasingly taking generic drugs: low-cost alternatives to brand-name medicines. Often health insurance plans require patients to switch to generics as a way of controlling costs. But journalist Katherine Eban warns that some of these medications might not be as safe, or effective, as we think. Eban has covered the pharmaceutical industry for more than 10 years. She notes that most of the generic medicines being sold in the U.S. are manufactured overseas, mostly in India and China. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration states…


Georgia’s Six-Week Abortion Ban Reveals The Intentional Cruelty Of The Anti-Choice Movement

  By Moira Donegan The Guardian (5/9/19) The anti-choice movement has taken a sadistic turn in Georgia, where a new abortion ban, called HB 481, has just been signed by Governor Brian Kemp. Signed into law this Tuesday and due to take effect in 2020, the bill effectively bans abortion outright, declares fetuses to be persons with full legal rights and protections, and imposes prison sentences for women found guilty of aborting or attempting to abort their pregnancies. The bill is misleadingly termed a “heartbeat” bill, and it bans abortions at any stage of pregnancy after the detection of “embryonic or…


Should 11-Year-Old Girls Have To Bear Their Rapists’ Babies? Ohio Republican Legislator Say Yes

The efforts to deny even the most vulnerable victims of sex crimes the right not to bear their rapists’ babies are real. [Editor’s Note: The article also notes republican efforts to make many forms of birth control illegal. And meanwhile republicans do everything to deny children and families the health care, schools and other support young families need. Pro Life? Bullshit.– Mark L. Taylor] By Eric Zorn Chicago Tribune (5/9/19) An 11-year-old rape victim in northwestern Ohio is pregnant, according to news reports, and a highly restrictive state law on abortion signed last month says a girl in her position must carry…


Big Money Lobbyists Working To Defeat Medicare For All Host Congressional Staffers At Cushy Resort

The group spent as much as $560 per congressional aide for transportation, food, and lodging. [Editor’s Note: Now keep in mind, these congressional staffers — and the reps they work for — all get excellent taxpayer-paid health care for their families paid for by citizens who too often don’t have health care or many with horrible policies. Why, we must ask these congressional freeloaders, are their children more precious than ours? The thought of people like this being involved in health care policy is revolting. Time to revolt. — Mark L. Taylor] By Lee Fang The Intercept (5/10/19) AT A LUXURY RESORT just outside…


‘Stop What You’re Doing And Watch’: Applause & Gratitude For Ady Barkan’s Emotional Medicare For All Testimony

  Common Dreams (4/30/19) In an emotional ten minute testimony, dying activist Ady Barkan delivered a message to Congress: pass a Medicare For All bill—now. Barkan emphasized the increased efficiencies of Medicare For All as opposed to the current healthcare system and pointed out how the for-profit insurance industry hinders, rather than helps, ordinary Americans. And, Barkan said, half measures won’t cut it: “It is very important to emphasize the following point: these cost savings are only possible through a genuine Medicare For All system. Other proposals to increase health insurance coverage, such as those that would make Medicare compete…


CHRONIC INFECTION! New DCCC Chair Rep. Cheri Bustos Is The Best Pal Of Insurance Big Money

How health insurance cash creates misinformation on Medicare For All. [Editor’ Note: For godsake, don’t waste a tarnished penny on the DCCC. Find and support positive progressive candidates and groups, especially those taking on infected corporate dems like Rep. Cheri Bustos or, closer to home, Rep. Ron Kind, and, of course anyone running against republicans. — Mark L. Taylor] By Wendell Potter Tarbell (3/15/19) Here’s a headline you can bet my former colleagues in the health insurance business were thrilled to see last week: “DCCC chief: Medicare for All price tag ‘a little scary.’” That headline topped the lead story…


Why Is The Govt. Allowing Drug Research We Pay For To Be Monopolized By Corporations For Their Private Profit?

We paid for it. They price gouge & profit from it. By Ryan Cooper The Week (3/28/19) How do we eradicate HIV/AIDS? One route is a vaccine, but so far that has proved a very difficult research problem. There is an ongoing clinical trial of one promising treatment in South Africa, but unlike the smallpox or polio vaccines, it appears to provide only moderate protection. Another is “pre-exposure prophylaxis,” or PrEP — drugs which prevent HIV infection if taken every day. One such treatment called emtricitabine/tenofovir (better known by its brand name Truvada) works very well for this, cutting the risk of…


Insys Therapeutics Pushed Costly Opioid With Bribes, Lies & Lap Dance Prosecutors Say

By Gabrielle Emanuel All Things Considered / NPR (4/1/19) Two months ago, Paul Lara saw a letter from his doctor to his insurance company. He recalls looking at the bottom of the page, next to the doctor’s signature, “It says: Does this patient have cancer? He marked yes.” Only one problem: Paul Lara has never had cancer. After decades as a commercial fisherman in Texas, Lara was badly injured on the job. In 2013, his doctor prescribed a high dose of an opioid called Subsys for Lara’s back and neck pain. The fentanyl-based spray can be up to 100 times…


A Caring Educator Harassed & Charged While Healthcare Industrial Complex Built On Casual Indifference & Premature Death Profits

The industry is an architecture of misery, extracting profits from needless suffering. By Roqayah Chamseddine In These Times (3/27/19) In Indiana, a school superintendent is facing three felony charges after using her son’s insurance in January to help a sick student access a doctor and prescription antibiotics. Dr. Casey Smitherman, who on February 1 resigned from Elwood Community School Corporation, has helped the 15-year-old student before, according to reports: She purchased his clothes, and even helped clean his house. This time, she had noticed his absence from school and took it upon herself to bring him to a medical center. In an apologetic public statement,…


Bernie Isn’t Kidding About Medicare For All

    By Jack Crosbie Splinter (3/27/19) One of the biggest arguments against Medicare for All or single-payer healthcare is that it would disrupt or destroy the current existing system of employer-provided private health insurance. This isn’t a good argument, of course, but it’s one that gets a lot of air time from the shrill handwringing crowd that wants to make sure the profits from private companies are safe. Kill the insurance companies. Replace them with a federal system. You don’t have to shop on the private market for firefighters when your house burns down, and there’s no reason you…


‘Electronic Bridge To Nowhere’ — How The Switch To Electronic Medical Records Went Wrong

With the federal government, so far, sinking $36 billion into the effort — America has little to show for its investment. By Fred Schulte, Kaiser Health News and Erika Fry, Fortune (3/18/19) The pain radiated from the top of Annette Monachelli’s head, and it got worse when she changed positions. It didn’t feel like her usual migraine. The 47-year-old Vermont attorney turned innkeeper visited her local doctor at the Stowe Family Practice twice about the problem in late November 2012, but got little relief. Two months later, Monachelli was dead of a brain aneurysm, a condition that, despite the symptoms and…


A Group Of Wisconsin Physicians Speak: What Is Medicare For All — And Why Is It Essential

“And lack of health insurance is the leading cause of personal bankruptcy, a uniquely American problem.” [Editor’s Note: This column does an excellent job of concisely laying out the case for Medicare 4 All and the broken reality of the costly and ineffective corporate medical system. Forward on to your contacts. — Mark L. Taylor] By Steven Weis MD The La Crosse Tribune (3/17/19) In 2009, before Obamacare, a Harvard study estimated that 45,000 Americans died annually because they didn’t have health insurance. Obamacare has shrunk the ranks of the uninsured from 50 million then to less than 29 million…


A Retiring La Crosse Physician Is Now Turning His Attention To The Healing Of Our Politics

“A cherished memory from medical school was the day that I held in my hands a just newly born little girl as she took her first breath. I was blown away by that experience and to this day remain convinced that she was born to thrive.” [Editor’s Note: On Wednesday Mark Neumann MD sent the following letter out to his colleagues at Gundersen Health System announcing his retirement and plans to become involved in the political work of bringing health care to the many in need.  In addition to his work at Gundersen, he began his medical career providing healthcare…



Rep. Pramila Jayapal Does An Excellent Job Of Explaining How Medicare For All Will Lower Costs & Expand Healthcare Coverage To Everyone

Is this a bold and ambitious plan? Damn straight it is, because it has to be. The scale of our healthcare crisis is enormous, and our plan has to tackle the deep sickness within our for-profit system.  Democracy Now! (3/6/19) More than 100 Democratic lawmakers are co-sponsoring a new House bill to dramatically revamp healthcare in the United States by creating a Medicare-for-all system funded by the federal government. This comes at a time when as many as 30 million Americans have no health insurance and tens of millions more are either underinsured or struggling to pay their health insurance…


I Wish I’d Had A ‘Late-Term Abortion’ Instead Of Having My Daughter

If I had been allowed the option to choose a ‘late-term abortion,’ would I? Yes. A hundred times over, yes. It would have been a kindness. [Editor’s Note: Anti free choice zealots act as if life is always tidy and orderly. It’s not and their callous calls for eliminating a full range of medical care for women is the height of moralistic arrogance. — Mark L. Taylor] By Dina Zirlott, HuffPost (2/13/19) Warning: Details in this story could be triggering to some readers. I was raped when I was 17 years old. I had a baby when I was 18 years…


‘Shame On Sackler’: Massive Protest Breaks Out Over Guggenheim Museum’s Ties To Big Pharma

Common Dreams Staff  (2/10/19) Demonstrators inside New York’s Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum staged a “die in” and dropped thousands of paper slips designed to look like of OxyContin prescriptions Saturday night to protest the facility’s ties to the billionaire Sackler family, which owns Purdue Pharma and has been accused of deliberately fueling the opioid epidemic for profit. “Education facilities at the Guggenheim, including a theater and an exhibition gallery, are housed inside the 8,200-square-foot Sackler Center for Arts Education, identified by the museum as ‘a gift of the Mortimer D. Sackler Family,’” the New York Times reported. “The cloud of white…


In Private Meeting Top Pelosi Aide Reassures Insurance Industry Execs Not To Worry About Democratic Party Pushing Medicare For All

  [Editor’s Note: Whenever you have the chance to met with a democratic party office holder or candidate or party official who is not clearly, strongly and publicly in favor of Medicare For All ask them why the children of members of congress are more valuable than your children; than your family. Ask them to explain why all of the tax payers who make the health insurance available for their children should not also have health coverage for their children and grandchildren … for all children in America. “Please, Congressman, explain why your children are more valuable than mine.” Put…